Daiy Times – Activists stage protest against killings of Hazara Shias

Daiy Times – Activists stage protest against killings of Hazara Shias

Published: Daily Times – April 18, 2012

Staff Report

LAHORE: The Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) on Tuesday organised a protest at Liberty roundabout to condemn the target killings of Hazara Shias in Balochistan.

The protest was attended by a large number of people from different walks of life. The participants strongly condemned the ongoing killings of Hazara Shias on the basis of being a sectarian and ethnic minority, and demanded the state authorities to establish the writ of law in the country, to protect religious and ethnic minorities from religious and sectarian extremists and to ensure the sanctity of life of every citizen.

IPSS head Saeeda Diep said that the institution believed that the ongoing sectarian violence throughout the country, including killings of Hazara Shias, sent a disturbing signal of state failure, and its causes could be traced back to rise in religious extremism that was accelerated by policies such as Islamisation. These policies relegated religious and sectarian minorities to second-class citizens, she said, adding that state patronage of militant and sectarian groups has left Pakistani minorities vulnerable to violence and persecution. She said that it was the need of the hour that the state changed its policies and put a stop to rising religious extremism and intolerance within society, and it was only possible if the country started treating all of its citizens equally, without any discrimination based upon their religion or ethnicity and stopped patronising any extremist elements.

The Hazara community was once again attacked on Monday in two different areas of Quetta. The attacks claimed one life. The killing brought to 27 the number of Hazaras shot dead over the past two weeks.

The first attack took place on Quarry Road and the second on Spinny Road. The deceased, identified as Salman Ali, owned a tyre shop on the Quarry Road.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani had presided over a high-level meeting on Sunday and announced to launch targeted operations against terrorists involved in sectarian and other killings in the province. However, even before the operation could start, two other attacks were launched against Shias, ridiculing the government’s claim of providing security to the citizens.